I figure that at least five different small groups of scientists will claim that Voyager 1 has just left the solar system before it completely dies.
"Their model would mean that the interstellar magnetic field direction is the same as that which originates from our sun." -- Am I naive to think that over the course of several billion years our solar system may indeed have gradually aligned itself with the cosmic background magnetic field? (if they weren't aligned in the first place)
Franklin Borthwick Sr.
The magnetic field lines from interstellar space is going to turn Voyager back, or even it might piggy back its way back to our sun, on a comet heading our way, or even turn around itself similar to a micro mini comet.
Doc Rock
With respect to Mr. Borthwick Sr.'s claim, do you really think the field lines contain enough energy to accomplish that task? Keep in mind the velocity of this probe. And .. the likelihood of it's being anywhere near the gravitic influence of a comet is really slim. Kuiper belt notwithstanding. I think it more likely that within 1000 years the combination of all the planets and the sun's mass might draw it back into an orbit..
Edge of solar limiting space has been an interesting area and theoretically an unchartered zone. The article brings forth the debatable point and varying opinions on it. There can be many possibilities, the above discussed inclusive, notwithstanding. What I feel relatively is more probable is as follows:
Voyager will follow the resultant vector sum of pulls on it and is likely to drift towards center of the galaxy till a resolved vector force towards nearest black hole or a neutron star impinges a drag on it. THUS, OUR DEAR VOYAGER 1 MAY BE A GONER!
Laszlo Ferenc Heredy
Voyager 1 was launched September 5, 1977 and has been traveling at an average velocity of 11 miles per second relative to our sun.
At what point does it fall off the edge of the universe?
Ash Mills
Surely the most likely end for the probe is to be hit by something?
Richard Schmidt
Why does it matter whether Voyager has "left the solar system" or is in some "transition zone"? It seems to me that what matters is that we know roughly where it is vis a vis earth/the sun and that we continue to record data. Isn't the rest just a cute semantic dispute?
Robert Filzbock
I am at the edge of my seat with excitement here.... I love science-- but this story comes equipped a great dose of melatonin.